[Ads-l] 'gee', to inform 1932

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 7 20:50:37 EST 2017


> On Feb 7, 2017, at 8:24 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg <nunbergg at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> Partridge has it as British slang from 1996 (“from the initial letter of GRASS (to inform)”), but there’s a nice earlier eg in Orwell’s essay “Clink” (1932), which obligingly provides a definition.
> 
>> People had scrawled their names, offenses and the lengths of their sentences all over the walls of my compartment; also, several times, variations on this couplet:
>> 
>> Detective Smith knows how to gee;
>> Tell him he’s a cunt from me.
>> 
>> (“Gee” in this context means agent provocateur.) 
> 
> 
> Geoff
> 
> 
…with the second line of the couplet providing a helpful cite for the OED’s entry at _cunt_, just predating one from Lawrence of Arabia, although well after the one from(?) (or about?) Honest Abe that suggests either an curiously different pronunciation or a half-rhyme.

3.  As a term of abuse for a man.

1860   in M. E. Neely Abraham Lincoln Encycl. (1982) 154   And when they got to Charleston, they had to, as is wont Look around to find a chairman, and so they took a Cu—.
1929   F. Manning Middle Parts of Fortune I. viii. 159   What's the cunt want to come down 'ere buggerin' us about for, 'aven't we done enough bloody work in th' week?
1932   ‘G. Orwell’ Clink in Coll. Ess. (1968) I. 88   Tell him he's a cunt from me.
a1935   T. E. Lawrence Mint (1955) i. ii. 40   You're silly cunts, you rookies, to sweat yourselves.

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